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Archive for the ‘The One Anothers: A 9 Day Devotional Series’ Category

 

God makes it clear in the Bible that we are to live in community. There are several verses in the New Testament that give us direction on doing life with ONE ANOTHER. In the previous eight days I have given some ways that God gives us to do life together:

Day 1: Love One Another

Day 2: Pray For One Another

Day 3: Agree With One Another

Day 4: Accept One Another

Day 5: Serve One Another

Day 6: Encourage One Another

Day 7: Live In Harmony And Peace With One Another

Day 8: Teach One Another

As Christians, we are to do life in community. Community looks different for each of us. For some it may mean the traditional church on Sundays and actively participating in other events as they come up. For some it may mean living in an intentional christian community who live together and are intimately involved in each other’s lives. Still, for others it might mean belonging to an organic house church community who share life through meals, Bible studies and other life events. Each of us is called to live out community in our own unique way. What is right for one person may not be right for someone else. As long as we are actively participating in a christian community that is intentional about following Jesus, we are living out God’s call for us to live in community. I personally believe that church should be an extension of the family. I have had my own personal struggles with the Church, but I can’t deny that longing that God has placed in my heart for community with other believers. We are stronger together. That is the way God intended it to be. Even Jesus was called to live in community and if it was right for Jesus, it has to be right for us.

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Romans 15:14

I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

Colossians 3:16

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

1 Timothy 4:13

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. In verse 20, He tells us how. Jesus tells us to make disciples by teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us. Jesus, Himself made disciples by teaching others to obey God’s commands. He was the master teacher. He was the ultimate role model in how to teach and make disciples. Below I list five things that Jesus did in teaching and making disciples:

  1. Build Relationships– Jesus spent from one to three years teaching the disciples. They were together all the time. They traveled and did life together. In this time, Jesus came to know the disciples intimately and they came to know Him intimately. Jesus was building relationships with these disciples that He would later send out into the world to teach and multiply. Building relationships is important in the teaching relationship. In today’s world spending every moment with each other probably isn’t feasible, but if we are going to teach others what it means to obey and follow Jesus, we need to invest the time in building the relationship. It may take one to three years of spending quality time with someone to make a disciple that is ready to go out and make disciples of their own, but that time invested will never be wasted.
  2. Practiced Patience– I’m sure there were times when Jesus shook His head in frustration with the twelve. They didn’t always understand the parables and needed Jesus to break it down for them. They weren’t all educated. Some of them were blue collar fishermen who needed everything spelled out for them. Jesus did not yell at them and call them dummies. he was patient in His teaching and broke things down for them when needed. We need to be patient when we are teaching and making disciples. We all have different learning styles and we need to be willing to adapt our teaching style to the person we are teaching.
  3. Admonish in Love– Admonish means to reprimand, rebuke or scold. Jesus did occasionally have to reprimand the disciples. They didn’t always get things right and He had to set them straight, but He admonished them in love. He never made them feel bad about making mistakes or messing things up. Jesus corrected the disciples from a place of love, building them up instead of tearing them down. No one is perfect. Those that we teach or disciple WILL make mistakes. Be careful to admonish from a place of love. Make sure you are building up and not tearing down.
  4. Encouraged– Jesus was an encourager. When He confronted a person who was living in sin, He did not condemn, but encouraged them to sin no more. Jesus never made the disciples feel like they would never make it as a disciple. He encouraged them in their God-given purpose and sent them out believing in themselves. We will all stumble in our relationship with God. We will all stray from the path as we follow Jesus. We need to remember to encourage those we are teaching because we ourselves are imperfect. We all need to be encouraged, especially when we are learning something new. We need to send our students out believing in themselves and the message they are sent out to share.
  5. Equipped– Jesus made sure that the twelve were ready to be sent out to teach and make disciples of their own. He made sure they were prepared to answer the hard questions of being a disciple and following Jesus. Jesus made sure they were ready to give the Gospel message clearly so that others would understand. Jesus took the time making sure that the faith of the twelve was strong enough to handle the attacks of the enemy and those who opposed Jesus. He took the time to make sure that the twelve were ready to give an answer as to why they believed in Jesus. He sent them out prepared, ready to face whatever situations they encountered. We need to make sure that those we are teaching are equipped to answer the hard questions. We need to make sure that they are ready to share their own testimony of how Jesus has worked in their lives. We need to make sure that they are ready to share the Gospel message in a way that others will understand. Our students need to be sent out prepared to face whatever Satan throws at them, with a faith strong enough to face whatever they encounter.

Jesus told us to teach others to obey His commands. We are to teach new Christians how to be a disciple. Jesus gave us a blue print for teaching and discipling. There are those around us that we can be teaching right now. Our family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends all need to know the Gospel message. We need to be ready to teach those around us how to follow Jesus and be disciples that glorify and multiply. It won’t always be easy. There will be challenging times that make you want to quit, but don’t give up! Remember that Jesus never gives up on us and He expects us to always follow His example.

 

 

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Romans 12:16-21

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

2 Corinthians 13:11

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Romans 14:19

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

1 Peter 3:11

They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.

God makes it clear through His Word that we are to live in peace and harmony with others. It isn’t always easy to seek peace. We live in a time when anger is the go to emotion for most of us and I will admit that I have too quickly turned to anger in many situations when I should have tried harder to seek peace. Most of us rush around in a hurry and our tempers flare whenever anyone gets in our way. We are so “me” focused that we have no compassion or patience for anyone else. This isn’t the way we are supposed to live. Fortunately for us, God doesn’t tell us to live in peace without telling us HOW to live in peace. Below, I have listed five ways that we can live at peace with those around us:

  1. Romans 14:13– Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
  2. 1 Corinthians 12:25– so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
  3. Galatians 6:2– Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
  4. James 5:9– Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
  5. 1 Peter 4:9– Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

I think God spells it out pretty clearly without any further explanation from me on how He expects us to live. If we live as God is telling us than living at peace with others will be so much easier.

The Challenge: Ask yourself these questions; Is there anyone I am living in judgement of? Why do I judge that person and how can I help them instead of judging them? Is there someone in my life that needs some help carrying their burden? How can I help to ease that person’s burden? Do I have concern for others who may be struggling? If not, Why? How can I show my concern for those who need a helping hand? How can I show concern for those who need Jesus? Do I go about my day grumbling? Why? How can I find the blessings in my day instead of grumbling about the things that irritate me? Do I have the opportunity to show hospitality to anyone? How can I show hospitality with a gracious attitude, instead of grumbling and making that person feel unwelcome? What other ways can I find to live in harmony with those around me? What ways can I bring peace to my community?

 

Living in harmony with EVERYONE is not always easy. People get on our nerves and the last thing we want is to make peace with them. But, if we want to live as God instructs us to then we MUST find a way to live in harmony and peace with those we live with and whose lives our lives touch. When we each do our part to bring peace to the world, Satan loses ground. When we reach out to create harmony in our communities, Satan loses a battle. Satan wants to keep us wrapped up in our anger, hurt feelings, selfishness, and busyness. As long as we are wrapped up in negativity, we can not accomplish anything for God. God is a God of peace and harmony. Why would we want to continue to live in our anger? Why would we want to continue to live in a world of chaos and fear? Why do we continue to allow Satan to keep us tied up in our selfishness? Why are we blind to the fact that living in peace is so much better for ALL of us? Why do we refuse to allow the peace of God to abide in us? Questions we ALL need to reflect on and answer for ourselves. Let me leave you with the following promises of God:

Proverbs 16:7

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

James 3:18

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Seek Peace in ALL you do and God will bless you! Peace be with you!

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Why do we find it so hard to encourage one another? We lash out in anger, frustration and impatience and tear each other down. I regret the times when my kids were younger and in my frustration I hurled words of discouragement at them. I regret the times that I have been less than kind to a cashier because I was impatient and in a hurry. I have found that in today’s society, we have gotten used to tearing each other down to build ourselves up. We judge each other, we belittle each other, we embarrass others for their differences, we make others feel small and we have started to think that this behavior is okay.

This behavior is NOT okay. God tells us to encourage one another and build each other up! I work with teenagers in my job and it is easy to get impatient when I see an “I don’t care” attitude. I have had to be careful that my own attitude is one of encouragement and not discouragement. I am not perfect and I am not always the role model I should be, but I try to make sure that the words I choose are building up our young people and not tearing them down.

My challenge to you: open your heart to the opportunities to build someone up. Look for ways in which you can encourage your family, neighbors, co-workers and others that you meet in your daily life. Don’t get discouraged if you blow it. We all do occasionally. Simply, move on and keep on encouraging. When we encourage others, we start a ripple effect that can change countless lives. Those we encourage feel better about themselves and start to encourage others in their lives. You never know when your encouraging word can save someones life. You never know when building someone up can give them a positive outlook, changing their lives forever.

Remember the old school saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Words do hurt. Our words have the power to change someones life forever. I choose to encourage others. I choose to build others up. I choose to use my words to give others life. I choose to let others know that they are loved.

HOW WILL YOU USE YOUR WORDS?

 

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John 13:14

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Matthew 20:28

Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. 

While Jesus was on earth, He taught us how to serve others. He made water into wine. He fed thousands of people on different occasions. He healed the sick, brought the dead back to life and poured Himself into the lives of His disciples. But, the one example that always stands out to me is how He humbly got down on the floor, took His disciple’s dirty feet and washed them. He washed the dusty, dirty feet of His disciples. Not expecting anything in return, just that they go out and wash one another’s feet.

If Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, could humble Himself and serve the needy and poorest of the poor, then why is it so hard for us to do the same? He did not have to serve anyone. He was and IS God. He did it because He loved those around Him and He loves us today.

Our problem today is that we have to much pride to wash one another’s feet. We think it is beneath us. We are to good to wash someone else’s feet humbly and with love. I’ll admit, I would not be the first in line to wash a stranger’s feet, but in not wanting to step out and serve, what am I saying to my Jesus? In not serving others we miss the opportunity to live out a major part of who Jesus was. He came to serve, not to be served.

Imagine what this world would be like if we all stepped out of our comfort zones to serve others. If we stepped out to serve those that our different than us, those who may make us uncomfortable. What if we looked beyond the color of someone’s skin, or the dirt of the homeless, or the smell of the alcoholic, what if instead of seeing all of these things that make us uncomfortable, we saw Jesus in that person. Remember what Jesus said:

Matthew 25:34-40

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Challenge: My challenge to you is to keep your eyes and heart open to least of these and step out to serve in whatever way you can. Even if you can’t do much, do what you can. It is the love in service that speaks louder than words and will work miracles in restoring a broken soul. If we all stepped out in the love of Jesus and started serving one another this world could change. We could see peace in the chaos. I’ve not given up on that. Go forth and serve!

 

 

 

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Romans 15:7

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

This passage does NOT say to judge one another. But, that is exactly what we do. We use our Christianity to put ourselves on a pedestal and we judge everyone below us. Why do we do that? Jesus NEVER judged anyone! Jesus was compassionate, merciful and humble. He never put Himself above anyone else. He even said that He was not sent to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Jesus had every right to put Himself on a pedestal. He IS the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! But, Jesus was not like that.

We, as Christians, need to reread the Gospels and really let the characteristics of Christ sink into our hearts. We need to embody Christ. We need to be more accepting of those that are different than we are. We need to be more accepting of those with different opinions and not assume they are wrong because we might not agree. Do we think that God loves one of us more than another? Well, God does NOT have favorites (Romans 2:11). God loves the homeless as much as He loves the millionaire. He loves the drug addict as much as He loves the pure in heart. We ALL have imperfections. We ALL mess up. We ALL have made HUGE mistakes at one time or another. We have ALL lived in sin. None of us has any reason to condemn or judge anyone else.

My challenge to you (and myself!) is to go back and reread the Gospels and write down in a notebook the characteristics of Jesus. Then we need to make an conscious effort to embody those characteristics on a daily basis. Live like Jesus. Don’t expect everyone to serve you. Go out and serve others. If the King of Kings was humble enough to wash the disciples feet, we should be too.

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1 Corinthians 1:10

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

The Church of America is divided. We have separated ourselves into our man-made denominations and pick which parts of scripture we feel fits our personal doctrines. We find denominations competing against each other and fighting over which one is “right.” Inside the local church, we find cliques being formed based on social status or demographics. Unfortunately, there is always the group of “undesirables” that get left out. In my experience, it has been those “undesirables” that have the closest relationship with God. We bicker, argue and judge to the point of driving people away. Many people are now saying that non-Christians are more accepting and loving than Christians. Non-Christians stand back and watch us fight among ourselves and they are glad that they are on the outside. A house divided can not stand.

Mark 3:25

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

We SHOULD be united in the scriptures. We SHOULD be united in obedience to the Holy Spirit. We SHOULD be united in Jesus Christ. We serve ONE God and ONE resurrected Savior. There is only ONE Bible. We should NOT be divided. We SHOULD be united as Sisters and Brothers in Christ. We SHOULD be loving each other. We SHOULD be supporting each other. We need to stop the fighting and come together as the family of Christ. We ARE family! We have been adopted as children of God (Ephesians 1:5, Romans 8:14-17). We need to become that united Body of Christ that stands together in mind and thought. Let us glorify our God by taking a unified stand against Satan and those who are sitting back and waiting for the Church of America to implode. Jesus sacrificed His life for US. Don’t we owe it to Him to get our acts together and present a unified front?

 

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